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MEN  OF MATHEMATICS
to the little boys under his charge; gymnastics was added in
1845.
In 1848, at the age of thirty-three, Weierstrass was trans-
ferred as ordinary teacher to the Gymnasium at Braunsberg.
This was something of a promotion, but not much. The head of
the school was an excellent man who did what he could to make
things agreeable for Weierstrass although he had only a remote
conception of the intellectual eminence of his colleague. The
school boasted a very small library of carefully selected books
on mathematics and science.
It was in this year that Weierstrass turned aside for a few
weeks from his absorbing mathematics to indulge in a little
delicious mischief. The times were somewhat troubled politi-
cally; the virus of liberty had infected the patient German
people and at least a few of the bolder souls were out on the
warpath for democracy. The royalist party in power clamped a
strict censorship on all spoken or printed sentiments not suffi-
ciently laudatory to then: regime. Fugitive hymns to liberty
began appearing in the papers. The authorities of course could
tolerate nothing so subversive of law and order as this, and
when Braunsberg suddenly blossomed out with a lush crop of
democratic poets all singing the praises of liberty in the local
paper, as yet uncensored, the flustered government hastily
appointed a local civil servant as censor and went to sleep,
believing that all would be well.
Unfortunately the newly appointed censor had a violent
aversion to all forms of literature, poetry especially* He simply
could not bring himself to read the stuff! Confining his supervi-
sion to blue-pencilling the dull political prose, he turned over
all the literary effusions to schoolteacher Weierstrass for cen-
soring. Weierstrass was delighted. Knowing that the official
censor would never glance at any poem, Weierstrass saw to it
that the most inflammatory ones were printed in full right
under the censor's nose. This went merrily on to the great
ddigfct of the populace till a higher official stepped in and put
an end to the farce. As the censor was the officially responsible
offender, Weierstrass escaped scot-free.
The obscure hamlet of Deutsch-Krone has the honour of
480